Three Directors of Nursing for a Leading Skilled Nursing Organization in California


One of California’s foremost skilled nursing organizations, renowned for its high-quality facilities that have consistently earned them 4- and 5-Star ratings, faced the challenge of finding suitable Directors of Nursing (DONs) for three of their skilled nursing facilities.

The organization came to ALIGN to find candidates with a minimum of 3-5 years of experience in a California skilled nursing facility, strong clinical skills, and a track record of success in annual California Department of Public Health (CDPH) surveys. The ideal candidates were expected to have exceptional leadership skills, excellent communication abilities, and a strong commitment to providing high-quality care to seniors.

These professionals would be responsible for recruiting, onboarding, and training new nursing staff, ensuring the department maintained competent and well-trained nurses to meet the organization’s needs. Their duties would include developing short- and long-term goals such as staffing, procedural, and standard-of-care, to ensure high-quality patient care while sustaining operational efficiency.

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ALIGN’s founder had a longstanding partnership with the client, having worked together over the past 10 years, highlighting the trusted relationships and successful outcomes that ALIGN had built with its clients.

We recognized that it would be a difficult search due to various factors, such as early retirements, staff shortages resulting from the COVID pandemic, and constantly changing regulations in the healthcare industry. Nevertheless, we were determined to use a comprehensive process that incorporated various traditional and non-traditional methods of sourcing top talent.

ALIGN’s approach included cold-calling dozens of skilled nursing facilities within a 50- to 85-mile radius. This approach was a practical way to reach potential candidates within our target geographical area. We also used our database of candidates, consisting of qualified candidates from across California and the US, to increase the pool of candidates.

To further expand our reach, we proactively pursued referrals from current skilled nursing employees, such as DONs and Administrators. We tapped into online job boards, social media platforms, and industry-specific publications to source top talent. We leveraged the extensive experience of ALIGN’s consultant, who had worked in the California market for nearly 10 years and developed a vast network of industry professionals for referrals.

Despite the obstacles, we spoke to nearly two dozen interested candidates and ultimately narrowed it down to six candidates for the three openings.

ALIGN’s success in finding and placing qualified professionals in key positions within the skilled nursing industry in just two months is evident in the outcomes achieved for three DON candidates. Our team’s comprehensive process and multi-faceted approach placed the right candidates in the right positions, providing them with a better quality of life and opportunities for personal growth.

One DON had a long commute and high gas expenses but was placed at a facility just 15 minutes from home, providing a better work-life balance. Another DON, with a high salary expectation, was encouraged by our team to consider an opportunity closer to family and friends in Sacramento. While the salary offered wasn’t as high as the DON wanted, the amount exceeded the client’s budget by $30K. The third DON had planned to move to the beach, but after considering her son’s senior year in high school, she opted to make a more informed decision based on the help she received from our team.

All three DONs demonstrated exceptional clinical skills, leadership abilities, loyalty, and wisdom to build strong teams for their facilities. Months after their placements, all three are still in their positions, and two of the three facilities passed the annual Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) survey, reflecting the competence and success of the DONs in leading their nursing departments.

These successful outcomes are testament to ALIGN’s ability to find and place highly qualified professionals in key positions within the skilled nursing industry.

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